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Friday, July 23, 2010

WHAT is ANAR DANA? POMEGRANATE SEEDS.RECIPE,ANAR DANA CHUTNEY

POMEGRANATE or ANAR (HINDI/URDU) and POMEGRANATE SEEDS (ANAR DANA)
The pomegranate tree originated in Persia and the Himalayas was taken to Syria in 1600 BC and was cultivated in the Mediterranean region, the subcontinent, Africa and Europe. It is mentioned in the Eber Papyrus, and was found in the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs, being one of the food items that were needed in the afterlife. In many cultures it is a symbol of immortality and fertility. (In Rome wreaths of the pomegranate tree were worn by brides.) In 700BC it was imported from Carthage to Rome, and it gets its Latin name from these origins; Punicum malum means Carthage, or Punic apple. Its botanical name is as unique as its properties, as so far, it is the only plant known to contain estron.
It was recommended by Dioscorides, in the first century AD, as a treatment for mouth ulcers and those that are found on the genitals and in the anus. As it has astringent properties its juice was used for binding wounds and staunching the flow of blood. Pliny said it was good for women during pregnancy. The leaves and seeds were used in decoctions in the ancient world to get rid of intestinal worms and the tree bark was used to flush tapeworms out of the intestines.
In traditional medicine the rind of the fruit is used in decoctions to stop dysentery and diarrhea, while the pulp and seeds are used as a laxative and to reduce stomach pain.
Modern medical research has shown that it is high in antioxidants, so it can help patients with cardiovascular diseases. However, research is still continuing into the possible uses of the pomegranate.
The pomegranate features prominently in the myths of Persephone and Hades. There are many versions of the abduction of Persephone to the underworld, but to cut a long myth short, Persephone was unable to return to her mother Demeter because she had eaten seeds of the pomegranate while in the underworld. She was allowed to return to the upper world for spring and summer, but had to return to the underworld in autumn and winter.
It has been a potent symbol throughout history, and was popular as a design on cloth in the Italian Renaissance, as Eleonora di Toledo, wife of Cosimo de Medici was depicted in paintings wearing dresses decorated with the pomegranate motif. It is said that as she was the mother of seven sons, the pomegranate symbolized her role as valued mother, or possibly her fecundity.
Henry VIII is reputed to have planted the first pomegranate tree in England, and Shakespeare refers to it in three of his plays, All’s Well that Ends Well, Romeo and Juliet and Henry IV. It was also mentioned by Chaucer in his Canterbury Tales.
If you’ve been to the Alhambra in Grenada you will have seen the pomegranate motif in archways and mosaics, as the Moors used it as their symbol of their Grenada kingdom. It was a royal fruit, perhaps because of the ‘crown’ on top of the fruit, left over from the blossom.
The French called the ‘grenade’ after the seed-splattering properties of the pomegranate. Greeks splatter a pomegranate on the threshold of houses at New Year, to bring luck in the coming year.
You may never have eaten a pomegranate, but if you’ve had a cocktail containing grenadine (Tequila Sunrise for example), then you’ll have an idea of what they taste like; sour-sweet.
We use the seeds in our pakora and chutneys (these are more like thick sauces, than what we call chutney in English-see recipe below) and sometimes cooked in vegetable dishes. Fresh seeds are used to garnish sweet dishes in many cuisines, including Turkish and Greek. The juice is refreshing, and here you can buy cordial of pomegranate to dilute. It’s very refreshing on swelteringly hot days. The seeds are usually dried, but if you soak them in water for 15 mins and then crush them they add a piquant flavour to a dish. Try the recipe below.



ANAR DANAR CHUTNEY
Ingredients
2 tbsps dried pomegranate seeds (anar dana) soaked in water for 2 hours
2 green chillies, chopped
½ handful mint leaves
2 tbsps fresh coriander leaves, shredded
1 tbsp lemon juice
salt to taste

Method
Grind the seeds very well, and then grind all the other ingredients with the seeds. Add a little water, mix thoroughly and the chutney is ready to serve with meat of fish.
This has Taste and is a Treat.

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